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Passengers in car accidents may claim personal injury damages

In West Virginia and all states, a claim for injuries by a passenger against his or her negligent driver who caused an accident is a proper claim that will generally be honored. Even where there are no other vehicles involved, passengers are entitled to claim damages from their driver whose negligence caused their injuries. Thus, for example, when the operator in such car accidents loses control and crashes into a barrier or an embankment, his injured passengers usually will have a successful claim for compensation against the driver.

A recent West Virginia accident will involve the foregoing legal principle. Six passengers were injured and taken to hospitals after a single-car crash on Limestone Road in Keyser, per the West Virginia State Police. The 19-year-old driver was driving south on the roadway when he lost control, ran off the road and collided with an embankment, a rock wall and a parked vehicle before rolling over and coming to a stop, resting on its roof. Police indicated the investigation was ongoing but that charges were expected.

There were seven occupants of the vehicle, including the driver. One passenger was trapped in the rubble and had to be extracted. The others got out on their own. Police indicated that the driver may have been speeding. Their condition is currently unknown, though the police described the injuries as serious but not life-threatening.

If the reported facts hold up under further investigation, it is likely that each of the six injured passengers are entitled to collect compensatory damages against the negligent driver. In West Virginia and all jurisdictions, recoveries in car accidents generally include medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity and pain and suffering. If the driver was underinsured and cannot pay the full amount due to each of the injured persons, each person must look to underinsured motorists' coverage on their own policies or the policies of their parents or household members.

Source: newstribune.info, "7 injured in single-vehicle accident on Limestone", April 4, 2017

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